By Scott McLeod
Community Collaborations Director

As many of you know, one of United Way’s most successful and exciting Community Learning Centers (CLC) is Kearns Junior High, where we have been partnering with the school and Salt Lake County Youth Services for over 4 years.  You probably also know that what makes a CLC unique, what makes it much more than simply a school, is that a CLC is a community “resource hub” where children and families can go to have many of their needs met. Whether it is healthcare, adult language classes, financial literacy education, or afterschool mentoring–the CLC is there to help families and increase the likelihood their children will succeed in school.

For this to work, it is important that schools become strong community centers, open year round and with extended hours, so that community members see them as a part of the community and feel comfortable using the services.  With this in mind, Kearns Junior High keeps its doors open over the summer providing a summer camp for kids.  Every day around fifty 7th, 8th, and 9th graders can be found inside and outside of Kearns Jr., engaging in activities of all sorts.  The curriculum covers the gamut: cooking, skateboarding, guitar classes, engineering (with help from students at the U), college tours, career presentations, archery, and much more.

This summer marks the fourth year of summer camp at Kearns Jr., and the program gets more popular every year.  Not only that, but with the addition of Oquirrh Hills Elementary as a Community Learning Center right next door, we are now able to use the summer camp as a transitional bridge from one school to the next, strengthening the cradle to career pipeline in Kearns.

I want to thank all of the amazing staff at Kearns Junior High for their hard work and intentional design in putting the summer camp together.  With this type of effort and thoughtful collaboration, I believe we really can ensure every child succeeds—every step of the way—from cradle to career.